By Michael Blinn
Hockey equipment is already at its apex. Everything is lighter, faster and as protective as possible.
Or so we thought.
On Thursday, Bauer announced a new line of player and goalie equipment, dubbed the OD1N. It's safe to say that we've made it to the future--and it's pretty sweet.
First, some background:
In early December, an image made its way around the hockey internet of some pretty crazy-looking skates in action. Other than a blurry Bauer logo, it was anyone's guess as to what they could be. More and more teaser photos came out, and Bauer dropped some tidbits:
Soon thereafter, we found out just how revolutionary the new equipment will be.
"We challenged our Research, Design and Development team in St Jerome, Quebec to create the 'concept car' of hockey equipment," said Kevin Davis, CEO and President of Bauer Performance Sports. "We asked them, 'What if?' What if we took away all the limitations we normally have, like materials, cost and commercialization process and focused solely on creating equipment that can be scientifically proven to make players better. The team focused on this challenge for more than two years and the result is BAUER OD1N."
After that period of research and development, Bauer managed to "re-imagine" the hockey skate, personalize protective gear, and create seamless, custom, and ultra-lightweight goalie pads. The OD1N skates, for instance, are the lightest ever made--at 1 pound 3.4 ounces they are about half a pound lighter than other high-end models-- and will increase a player's speed while the form-fitting body suits stay in place better, thanks to optical body scans that help customize the gear. According to Bauer, the new materials will reduce fatigue by saving players more than 1,000 pounds of lifted weight during the course of a regulation game.
As for the goalie equipment, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers has been modeling the pads--which are about one-third lighter than usual--which have been tailored to his style and preferences. Goalies can build their own pads to direct rebounds or simply absorb shots, and the new gear will reduce their total of lifted weight by 180 pounds per game while helping them cover up to a full inch of space more quickly.
“This would be cost prohibitive for the consumer,” said Steve Jones, director of global marketing and brand strategy for Bauer. “This is not something we’d like to market to the masses.”